In less than a year, I read all three novels by J. Courtney Sullivan and she quickly became my favorite author. Her novels are filled with a combination of feminism, humor, love and friendship and it is basically everything I am looking for in books and what I enjoy the most.
Julie Courtney Sullivan is a novelist and writer from Massachusetts, she wrote for different magazines and newspapers and also published her own books, fiction and non-fiction. She now lives in New York with her husband and her dog.
The first book I read by J. Courtney Sullivan was Maine, her second novel. I picked it up at JFK airport last year on my way to Colombia and I didn't know anything about it. I noticed it had a character named Alice and was about three generations of women going on vacation together in New England, so I bought it (it's all that I need, --take notes). Reading it, I fell in love with Sullivan's writing and her characters. It left me wanting more.
Back in Belgium and on my way to Barcelona, I bought Commencement, her first novel. It centers on four students at Smith College (where Sullivan studied herself). We follow the lives of Celia, Bree, Sally and April, four girls with nothing in common who will be forced to live together in a dorm. Frienship, love and feminism are the main themes of the novel and Sullivan's writing and sense of humor bring something more to the novel.
After almost an entire year of waiting, J. Courtney Sullivan's third novel came out: The Engagements. Centered around the line "A Diamond Is Forever" and the idea of marriage, it follows the lives of Evelyn, Delphine, James, Kate and Frances over a hundred years. The style echoes the film technique of 'mosaic movie' where different stories and characters evolve in different sub-plots, with some degree of autonomy, but always united by a thematic, narrative or stylistic link. In the end, but not always, the stories intertwine and come together to give more meaning to the story. It all works perfectly in Sullivan's novel. As always, her themes, writing and sense of humor were there and it was all I wanted and more.
As Wikipedia puts it, J. Courtney Sullivan "self-identifies as a feminist" and it can be seen in her work. Personally, I don't really know if I would consider myself a feminist. I strongly believe it is important for men and women to be considered equal in our society, for them to have the same rights and opportunities. In some way, I am a feminist, but not to the extreme point of going out bust-naked in the streets, and I don't yell it on every rooftop. Let's say I am a soft-feminist and, most of all, I really enjoy reading books about empowering women, what J. Courtney Sullivan manages to do beautifully.
I don't think I could pick only one favorite book, but one thing is sure is that J. Courtney Sullivan managed to find a combination of almost all my favorite things and writes about them. She is, and by far, my favorite author of the moment and I cannot wait for another book.